A Topsy-Turvy History of New Orleans & Ten Tiny Turtles
Story by Tania Lee and Simone Rathlé
When the City of New Orleans celebrates its tri-centennial in 2018, Brennan's has got it covered: the French Quarter dining institution marks the highly anticipated occasion with a charming, 32-page hardcover picture book that hits all the monumental historic moments and reveals a few lesser known tidbits. Did we mention the turtles?
Due out February 1, 2018, just in time for Mardi Gras, A Topsy-Turvy History of New Orleans & Ten Tiny Turtles [Hoffman Media, 2018] illustrates the dramatic timeline of the Crescent City as experienced by a large family of native Turtles, the current generation of which was discovered in Brennan's courtyard during the celebrated restaurant's recent multi-million dollar renovation.
In the colorful children's book, the Turtles are present among the native Chitimacha as Jean-Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville wades ashore and names his settlement in honor of France's regent, the Duke of Orleans. They witness the city's dizzying changes of nationality, until the Battle of New Orleans clinches the deal in favor of the United States -- with the help of a notorious pirate. They welcome waves of immigrants from Haiti, Africa, and Europe, each adding to the rich cultural melting pot. They mourn losses from the Yellow Fever and Influenza epidemics, and rejoice in the birth of Jazz. And they are right at home in Brennan's iconic pink edifice, which once served as a bank [the first in the Louisiana Territory;] a private residence [of a champion chess prodigy, and of a mayor, one of whose frequent guests was General Andrew Jackson;] and, finally, as one of the most beloved restaurants in town.
The ten present Turtles -- aptly named for the five Mother Sauces of French cuisine, the Muthas, plus the five other great sauces for which New Orleans cooking is known, the Othas -- have had their own share of adventures. Their return to the renovated Brennan's courtyard was celebrated with -- what else? -- a festive parade, which is now a joyous annual French Quarter public event on Mother's Day weekend.
Brennan's, having occupied 417 Royal Street since 1955, has seen its fair share of history and is known the world over for its contributions to New Orleans cuisine. To honor the tri-centennial, it commissioned the lively story and captivating watercolor illustrations to engage the next generation of youngsters [and their grown-ups] in the remarkable tale of this resilient town. Topsy-Turvy enjoys the imprimatur of the Historic New Orleans Collection, which graciously reviewed the non-reptilian storyline.
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